By SOE HTEIK AUNG / KANTARAWADDY TIMES
The Karenni National Progressive Party (KNPP) and government departments are working together to monitor people who are returning through Karenni State’s border gates with Thailand amid the COVID-19 pandemic, KNPP spokesperson Khu Boe Reh said.
Khu Boe Reh, head of the KNPP’s liaison office in Shadaw Township, said that his organization had reported about 29 returnees from Thailand to the government.
“We have to report about the returnees who pass through the border crossings,” Khu Boe Reh said. “Our liaison office takes responsibility for collecting information and reporting about the people, who have passed through border crossings. We have received some COVID-19 preventative materials from the government. We are using these preventative materials.”
There are COVID-19 screening points in some townships that border Thailand. In Karenni State, there is the BP-9 checkpoint in Shadaw Township, the BP-10 checkpoint in Ywar Thit Township, and the BP-13 and BP-14 checkpoints in Mese Township.
Lu Zaw Thant, the Ywar Thit Township General Administration Department (GAD) officer, said that no one had passed through the COVID-19 screening point in the township.
“Nobody returned from Thailand through our screening point. We have already prepared quarantine facilities for returnees,” Lu Zaw Thant told Kantarawaddy Times.
According to Lu Zaw Thant, less than 20 people have come through Ywar That since the COVID-19 outbreak was declared.
“I heard that illegal entry has occurred in the Mese area. It’s difficult to enter illegally into our area because it’s a little bit far from the border. It’s about four hours away by car,” he said.
Shadaw Township GAD officer Yan Naing Maung said that his department was working with drivers and the KNPP to pick people up at border crossings
“We can only check people at the gate when they travel to Shadaw town. If some people return from Thailand, car drivers go to pick these people up. We also work with the KNPP. When we hear that some people will return from Thailand, we call the KNPP and drivers to go and pick up these people,” he explained.
Eiza Ko, who is working with the ethnic health network the Civil Health and Development Network (CHDN), said that not everyone returns through official channels.
“Some people didn’t return from the official border gate. They don’t want to stay in the facility centers of the government and EAOs,” Eiza Ko told Kantarawaddy Times. “Some people returned another way, so we cannot do medical checks on these people. It’s a big challenge in our area.”
The Karenni State government reported that 12 people passed through the Shadaw border gate in July. Among them, 11 live in Hpruso Township and one lives in Shadaw Township. A total of 231 people returned to Karenni State from Thailand through the Myawaddy friendship bridge in Karen State between May 2 and July 2, 2020.